Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Borders to close on 22nd December

The administrators for Borders have confirmed that the stores will close their doors for the final time on Tuesday 22nd December, unless a buyer emerges.

MCR claimed that there were in "advanced stages" of negotiations with a number of parties about purchasing certain stores or assets. But, they added, unless a business took over Borders as a going concern (which looks increasingly unlikely), all stores will formally cease trading on the date stated above. The final day of employment for the 1150 Borders staff will be Christmas Eve.

Staff consultation is expected to continue throughout this week with further updates to individual stores at the end of the week.

In what has been clearly a difficult time for Borders staff, The Bookseller website suggests that that the stores have become a free for all, where pretty much anything that is not nailed down is for sale - from the fixtures and fittings to a range of Denby pottery which was apparently bought some time ago - and there was I thinking there were a book store !

The description of the scene that must surely be an every day reality for the beleaguered staff is highly reminiscent of the store closure that I myself experienced at the beginning of November last year - where on the last day a big bag of plugs, television aerials and so on which we had previously used for the display items was offered free to anyone who would take them.

This latest move suggests, despite claims to the contrary that there is little hope of saving the Borders brand name.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Waterstones admits that content is not high on their list - yes that would mean good writing.

Waterstones have finally admitted at a seminar held to reassure agents about the functioning of their distribution hub, what we as authors have known for some time - that the quality of the writing is not one of four key considerations when the chain chooses to order or stock a book. This is not news as far as I, and most other authors are no doubt concerned, yet the agents reacted with shock and horror when the chain admitted their stance.

Sixty people attended the seminar, held at the retailers flagship Piccadilly store, which included a hub update and an introduction to the new buying team.

The four key considerations were revealed as being, track record (i.e. previous or projected sales history), support from the publisher, market context and pricing/cover. Around half of those in the room put up their hands and asked the obvious question, "What about the writing?'" What indeed you might say.